With the impending heat wave, the Connecticut Department of Public Health is urging all those who work or play outdoors or in other hot environments to learn to recognize and protect themselves from heat stress.
Each year in the US, several hundred people are killed by heat-related conditions, and thousands more are made ill. Young people, older folk, and those with underlying health conditions or taking certain medications are at greatest risk for heat stress and heat stroke. In Connecticut, dozens of individuals are seen in emergency departments each summer due to the health effects of heat stress.
“On average, heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, and many of those harmed or killed are workers.” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “While any worker death is tragic, those caused by heat stress are particularly disturbing because they are so easily preventable.”
People can take actions to protect themselves in hot environments. These include:
∙ encouraging frequent breaks away from direct sunlight,
∙ scheduling physically-demanding work during the cooler parts of the day, and;
∙ providing cooling fans and moisture-wicking clothing to help keep cool.
Those in hot environments should be encouraged to drink non-caffeinated liquids frequently to stay properly hydrated, typically 8 ounces of fluids every 20-30 minutes. In addition, having onsite personnel trained in recognizing and treating heat stress disorders, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke, is essential to early recognition and intervention.